THANKFUL VS. AWFUL VS. GRATEFUL AND MORE

by Judy Enderle

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Tick tock, tick tock. Turkey time is closing in which makes one pause to count blessings. It’s a time to give thanks or Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for family, friends, the beauty of the world out my window, the energy to dig in my garden, the ability to write, the patience of my critique group and my agent, the joy of living to see another birthday. (I am a turkey baby!)

I am thankful, full of thanks. And that word got me thinking (which can sometimes be a dangerous thing).

If thankful always means full of thanks, why doesn’t awful always mean full of awe? It can mean that, but not always. Then there’s grateful, which doesn’t mean full of grates, but is derived from the Latin gratus. Another word tied to gratus is the word graceful, which means pleasing form or movement and not full of God’s grace. The word grace has a nice paragraph in my Webster with eight definitions and several sub definitions.

It was fun perusing the —ful words. Check out baleful, which has nothing to do with hay. There’s more than one kind of bale. Gleeful, woeful, helpful, sorrowful, eyeful and earful, tearful and cheerful and more.

So, here’s a blogful for this month. Have a turkeyful, pieful Thanksgiving.

P.S. For those of you making Christmas lists, check out Twelve Days of Christmas Starring Chickens, by Janet Lee Carey and illustrated by Molly Blaisdell. Lots of zany chicken fun starting with a penguin in a pine tree.

WORD GENES

by Judy Enderle

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Where does it come from, the love of words? Are word lovers born or created? Maybe both.

In my family, my parents were both avid readers. Until his death at a 101, my father was a weekly visitor to the public library where he checked out the LARGE PRINT books. Give him a good adventure, action, suspense, mystery novel or a historical biography and he was happy. My mother was an English teacher and it wasn’t unusual to receive a letter from her with a “story idea” for her aspiring author daughter. She also loved crossword puzzles as much as books and passed that love along to my sister and me. Words!

As life moved ahead, my children and I visited the library on a regular basis. They all loved science fiction and fantasy as well as animal stories. I took writing classes, met my author friend and writing partner, Stephanie. Publication happened first with “Highlights for Children,” then with children’s book publishers. Words!

More time has passed. I’m now a grandmother. My daughter is publishing books in the adult market to strong reviews. Her books are the type my dad would have loved, full of action and intrigue. Her latest is The Shadow & The Sun. My older son is dabbling in science fiction short stories and a novel is getting birthed. All three of my kids wipe me out in Words With Friends, especially my younger son, and I have to work hard to match wits with both my grandgirls at this game, too. Words!

Yeah! Words! Is it the sound, the meanings, or the challenge of using those 26 letters to create an entire world populated with intriguing characters that makes them so appealing? Most likely all three and more. Whatever it is, word genes thrive in our family. How about yours?

 

REALIZATIONS AND RESOLUTIONS

BY JUDITH ROSS ENDERLE

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In January one is supposed to make resolutions to mend one’s ways or achieve greatness or rid oneself of unhealthy habits.

Well, I don’t want to mend my ways; I realize I’m pretty happy with the way my ways are now.

I’ve achieved some greatness and lost some greatness and have landed back in the middle which isn’t a bad place to be. No need to resolve other than to keep moving forward and let the words fall where they may.

So that leaves unhealthy habits, usually involving food and exercise. I can swear off sugar entirely (I’m quite sweet enough), but that would be a wasted swear since I know right well that I’ll still have two biscotti with my coffee in the afternoon. So why waste a swear? As to exercise, I walk and I garden and I clean house, so my parts are moving, not too fast nor too slow. No need to promise to exercise more than that.

Thus I’ve come to realize that this resolution business is more of a taking stock, but it doesn’t mean you have to change a single thing. And how many of the resolutions actually last more than two months? Still, it is the first of a new year. How can I break tradition? So in the spirit of the new year, here are my resolves:

1: Change what I don’t like; keep what I like about me.

2: TRY to be more patient with myself and with others.

3: Make Words with Friends a reward, not a replacement for writing. A paragraph counts as writing, doesn’t it?

4: Make it one biscotti with coffee instead of two. (I know I won’t keep this one. See? A wasted swear.)

5: Be thankful for loving family and friends. This one I can do! I am so very blessed.

6: Get back to work. I can do this right now.

Off to a fine start. Six is a good number of resolutions for a year that ends in 6. May 2016 be a great year for you and yours and good luck with your resolutions. (Save your swears, you made need them when rejections show up, unless you’ve resolved not to let rejection bother you. Let me know how this works out, so I can use it for my resolution next year.)

MEANDERINGS

BY Judy Enderle

Editing1     One way authors create character is through word choices. For example, Who would use a word like harbinger? Katniss Everdeen? The Cat in the Hat? Winnie the Pooh? Captain Underpants? Harry Potter? The main character in your story?

When you first start writing for publication, you think: If only I could get this one book published. When you have been publishing for awhile, you think: If only I could get this next book published.

Author Sid Fleischman always gave good advice. One tip he shared proved so true. “Never throw anything away. If you cut scenes or information from your work, put those parts in a doggie bag.” Doggie bags might contain future magazine stories or nonfiction articles, picture books, sequels, or new novels. Does your computer have a doggie bag file as well as an idea file?

If there are topics you’d like the Mavens to address, let us know, please. The other Mavens will Meander when inclined or when avoiding writing or instead of cleaning the office or . . . .

Happy Writing, Everyone!